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Alzheimer Scotland extends deepest condolences to the families and friends of former footballers Billy McNeill and Steve Chalmers following their recent deaths and acknowledges the loss to the footballing community. 

Football and dementia research update 

Both men are distinguished and celebrated Scottish footballer’s who lived for several years with dementia before their recent deaths. This has once again drawn attention to the potential link between playing football and dementia in later life. 

Alzheimer Scotland supports dementia research to understand the causes of dementia in greater detail so that we can work towards prevention, better care, and potential treatments. In recent years Alzheimer Scotland’s Policy and Research team established the Scottish Dementia Research Consortium (SDRC) to bring together researchers, policy makers and people living with dementia from across Scotland, to strengthen and build on the existing world-leading research taking place across Scotland. 

Through the SDRC we have supported the creation of the Scottish Cognitive Outcomes for Brain Injury Consortium (SCOBIC). This group brings together researchers in the dementia field and is co-chaired by Professor Craig Ritchie, Chair of the Psychiatry of Ageing and Director of the Centre for Dementia Prevention, Edinburgh University and Dr Willie Stewart, who leads the Glasgow Brain Injury Research Group, to look at the current understanding of brain injury and neurodegeneration and lifelong outcomes after participation in sport. The objective for this group of leading Scottish experts is to collaborate on ongoing and future research so that we can develop a better understanding of this complex issue. 

Alzheimer Scotland Reminiscence Networks 

Football will always hold a special place in Scottish life and fans and communities often have a strong emotional connection with the football clubs they support. We have seen first-hand the power of this connection in supporting people with dementia who participate in football reminiscence through our football memory groups across Scotland. Over 200 groups meet on a regular basis and use old football images, artefacts and sensory objects to stimulate memories and encourage discussions. For more information about football memory groups in partnership with the Scottish Football Museum and partners, visit

If you have any questions about dementia, or if want to find out football memory groups in your area, call Alzheimer Scotland’s 24-Hour Dementia Helpline on 0808 808 3000.

If you would to support the work of Alzheimer Scotland you can donate online.